By the time registration for the sixth annual Cigarette Owners Rendezvous closes today at Performance Boat Center in Osage Beach, Mo., the event could hit the 120-boat mark. According to Brett Manire, who co-owns the multi-brand, service dealership with Mark Waddington, 113 Cigarette Racing Team V-bottoms and center consoles currently are registered—and there’s still time left.
Brett Manire (above) and the team at Performance Boat Center have another record-setting event on their hands. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix/speedonthewater.com.
“They just keep coming and coming,” said Manire. “All of our rental houses are taken. The docks are filling up. We barely have a place to put all the RVs. It’s just incredible.”
In 2019, the Cigarette Owners Rendezvous broke the 100-boat mark by one boat. Even if the final entry is already in, the 113-boat mark is a new event record that comes at a time when several major events from the Desert Storm Poker Run in Arizona to the 1,000 Islands Charity Poker in Upstate New York have been cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I never thought we would have this many boats this year,” he said. “It’s amazing—such great people.”
Representing the Opa-Locka, Fla., custom high-performance center console and sportboat company for the first time at the event is Cigarette Racing Team president Erik Christiansen.
“I haven’t ever seen anything like this,” he said. “It definitely demonstrates how passionate people are regarding the brand. There is one couple who came to the event last year and they bought a boat for this year.
“Everyone is friendly and having fun,” he added. “There’s no drama.”
Check out the slideshow above to enjoy more images from the first two days of the 2020 Cigarette Owners Rendezvous.
Ongoing projects at the Cigarette facility kept Skip Braver, the owner and chief executive officer of the company, back home in South Florida. Reached by phone this afternoon, Braver said that he, too, is impressed at the turnout in light of the travel challenges created by the novel coronavirus.
“It just shows how much people love boating and how loyal to the brand Cigarette customers are,” he said. “Boating presents the perfect environment for social distancing. There’s probably no safer place to be than on the water.”
Tonight’s opening party will take over the Redhead Lakefront Grill and new High Tide adult-oriented pool and entertainment venue, which adjacent to Performance Boat Center. Tomorrow’s mandatory drivers meeting in advance of the multi-stop fun run will start promptly at 9:30 a.m. in the Performance Boat Center showroom. The fleet is scheduled to depart at 11 a.m.
(From left) Greg Szolack, Todd Fountain and Ron Szolack are three of the many Cigarette on hand in Osage Beach for the Cigarette event this weekend.
Look for ongoing coverage of the sixth annual Cigarette Owners Rendezvous throughout the weekend on speedonthewater.com.